The Stream

Is abuse of UK politicians undermining democracy?

Parliamentarians and other elected officials routinely exposed to personal attacks amid toxic atmosphere around Brexit.

On Thursday, October 31 at 19:30 GMT:
With the UK’s future place in the world still uncertain amid parliamentary gridlock over Brexit, there has been an accompanying rise in divisive and inflammatory rhetoric within British public debate. But for many Members of Parliament and other elected officials – especially women – the impact is personal as they face routine threats and intimidation, both in person and online.

MPs have reported a sharp increase in the number of threats of murder, rape and assault they have received from individuals angry at their stance on Brexit and other political issues. An all-party parliamentary committee report released on October 18 said that abuse of MPs is now “commonplace” and that it is “undermining their engagement with constituents, how they express themselves on social media, and carry out their democratic duties”.

The murder of West Yorkshire MP Jo Cox just days before the 2016 referendum on whether the UK should remain or leave the European Union shocked the country, but now many MPs fear that they or one of their parliamentary colleagues will be next as the deeply polarised sentiment around Brexit leaches into other areas of public discourse.

On Thursday we’ll get the thoughts of MPs and other public figures as an election likely to be dominated by Brexit approaches. What’s needed to guarantee politicians’ safety and keep UK democracy open, transparent and accountable? Join the conversation.


On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:


Caroline Nokes, @carolinenokes
Conservative MP for Romsey and Southampton North


Kim Leadbeater, @JoCoxFoundation
Ambassador at The Jo Cox Foundation


Shaista Aziz, @shaistaAziz
Labour councillor for Oxford City Council

Read more:
‘Abuse is virtually constant’: female MPs speak about the threats they face – The Guardian
The UK is spending record sums keeping politicians safe since an MP’s murder – Quartz

What do you think? Record a video comment or leave your thoughts in the comments below.